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Another 38 S&W victory model question

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by dano6257, Dec 27, 2006.

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  1. dano6257

    dano6257 Member

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    I received for christmas an old s&w 38 that belonged to my wifes grandfather, from my research I've concluded it to be a victory model, however I still have a few questions. I believe all the parts to be original except for the grips (all other numbers match) sn# V632xx. Which from what I've seen is a very low number, but I'm unsure if that is of any significance. The difference I see is the barrel. It is a 4" barrel and it has a longer sight that says: Parker Hale England and under the barrel is stamped "S/N --- crown over bnp --- 38"-767" --- 3 1/2 ton --- and another marking that appears to be mabye crossed swords or possibly just an X with an L on the left and a 2 underneath. The right side says "Smith & Wesson" and the left side says 38 S&W CTG. There are no property markings on the top or anywhere else that I can see. And it does not have the lanyard ring on the base. Any information on this revolver would be greatly appreciated.

    Another question, where could I find grips & a holster for this era pistol.

    Thanks in advance
     

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  2. KHawk

    KHawk Member

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    dano6257, some of the marks that you describe are british proof marks. When read in the proper sequence they indicate where it was tested (city) and the greatest pressure that it was passed at. Some of the other marks could be an ownership cartouch. Grips and holsters are available, after a little research, at Midway (on line) and Uncle Mikes probably has a servicable holster.
     
  3. Shear_stress

    Shear_stress Member

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    That's definately in the Victory serial number range, which ran from V1 to V769000. The markings you see are probably British proof stamps. Lots of these were exported to England during WWII as part of the Lend Lease program. More than a couple were repatriated after the war.

    A couple of things to bear in mind. First, 38 S&W is absolutely not the same round as 38 Special. Load 38 S&W ammo only in this gun. Second, unless there is an "S" stamp near the rear sideplate screw and/or on the butt, this gun lacks a modern-style hammer block. It could fire if dropped.

    As for holsters and grips, the gun will fit in any holster designed for S&W's k-frame revolvers. Period-accurate grips (smooth walnut) can be purchased from Sarco.

    Hope that helps.
     
  4. dano6257

    dano6257 Member

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    Thanks for the input, but I was hoping for some information on why the barrel and sights are different. And what are the best sources for research, I found a very close S/N that was found at NAS Corpus Christi.
     

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  5. The Real Hawkeye

    The Real Hawkeye member

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    Couldn't the sights be mods put on by a gunsmith?
     
  6. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Another 38 S&W victory model question ... and another .... and another ... :)

    Between 1899 and 1942, Smith & Wesson made one million :what: K-frame, Military & Police revolvers. At this point they had to start over because the machine that stamped the number on the butt couldn't go any higher. So they started the "V" series at #V 1. The "V" was supposed to stand for "Victory," because (for us) World War Two had just started.

    During the war Smith & Wesson made two versions of the Victory Model. One was called the .38-200, and it was made for the British and their Commonwealth countries. As a rule it had a 5" barrel and was chambered in .38 S&W (not Special). The second was simply called the "Victory Model." It was made for U.S. military services, and was similar to the .38-200 except it was chambered in .38 Special and had a 4" barrel, although a few were made in 2" length.

    Following the war, by the middle 1950's the British had replaced the .38-200 revolvers with Browning P-35 Hi-Power pistols, and many if not most of the remaining revolvers were sold as surplus to American gun dealers and importers.

    A problem developed though. American gun buyers didn't particularly like either the long 5" barrel, or the .38 S&W cartridge. They preferred a shorter barrel and the .38 Special cartridge. So in both England and the United States a large number of these revolvers were rechambered to .38 Special (which for the most part ruined them) and had the barrel shortened and the front sight replaced. A common replacement was a ramp - usual intended for a rifle - soldered to the barrel. The front sight blade might be part of the ramp, or it might be a separate sight mounted in a dovetail cut in the ramp. Some of these conversions were well done, while others were very crude.

    Often the lanyard loops were removed and the hole plugged.

    The original stocks, which were plain, unchecked walnut were sometimes replaced with plastic ones - as can be seen on the example shown here. Last but not least the finished gun was occasionally reblued.

    Individuals with a converted revolver of this kind should check the cylinder to see if the .38 S&W chambers are still there, or if they have been lengthened to take the .38 Special round. If so, fire only regular .38 Specials, not Plus-P, and expect to get split or cracked cases. .38 S&W rounds can also be fired, but generally accuracy is poor.

    Stocks that fit a current day Model 10 Square Butt will fit, or can be made to. Any holster made for the Model 10 that's long enough to inclose the barrel - whatever length it should be now - should work too. If the barrel length is still 5 inches you may have to get a 6" holster.

    At the time (middle 1950's and later) they were sold for very attractive prices when compared to a new Smith & Wesson or Colt. But they are an excellent example of the old saying, "you get what you pay for.”
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2006
  7. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    From a previous post made on another thread...

     
  8. dano6257

    dano6257 Member

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    Many thanks old fuff, that answers alot of my questions.
     
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